Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain is about to enter the Second World War. An unhappy, poor child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley, but his life is shattered when his mother calls him back to London.
Michelle was born in 1947 in Portsmouth, Hampshire of a Welsh mother and Irish father with an Armenian Surname! Michelle Spent her toddler years in Singapore and two-and-a-half years (aged 7-9) in Australia. In between times, up to the age of eighteen, she lived in Portsmouth.
She was educated at Kilbreda college, Mentone (Victoria, Australia) and the Covent of the Cross, Waterlooville, Hampshire.
Michelle trained for the theatre at The Rose Bruford College of speech and drama in Kent from 1968to 1969. It was while there that she started writing regulary.
From 1969-1970 she was a mime student at Marcel Marceau's L'Ecole International de Mime in Paris. Since then Michelle has worked in theatre, television and films and has an established reputation as a comedienne, performing in plays and musicals. Michelle also toured with her one woman mime show in Italy and England.
Michelle's first novel Goodnight Mister Tom grew out of two short stories. She wrote the book in between acting jobs and on Sunday when she was working in the theatre. Goodnight Mister Tom was first published in the UK in 1981 it has won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Award (for full list of awards please see Bibliography). The book has sold in excess of 1.2 MILLION copies in the UK alone and has been published in Denmark, USA, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Finland, France and Germany. The 1998 BAFTA award-winning TV film of the book starring John Thaw attracted 14 MILLION viewers.
Just Henry is Michelle's first novel in over 10 years. In this gripping mystery-thriller, the story of a boy struggling to understand his identity, is beautifully woven with a vivid picture of the social prejudices, culture and atmosphere of late 1940s Britain.
Since publishing in May 2008 it has won the Children's Book category for the Costa Book Award, shortlisted for the Lancashire Children's book award, shortlisted for the Essex Children's Book award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.